How to Lift and Block Houseboats for Storage?

by Steve
(Fond du Lac, WI)

Typical houseboat blocking with multiple blocks.

Typical houseboat blocking with multiple blocks.

How to go about lifting and blocking a houseboat for winter storage? I just purchased a 1969 Nautaline houseboat, 34 foot, single Chrsyler 318.

I was wondering about the proper way to go about how to block this houseboat for winter storage. I have received multiple "opinions" One "Expert: suggests most of the weight on the keel with just braces to keep it upright.

The second "expert" says the house boat has should have most of the weight on the chine, with just a foam block under the engine area.

I am confused, and looking to find the proper way to lift and block a houseboat.

Please help, Thank you in advance, Steve

Advertise Houseboat Business Advertising
You can advertise here for pennies a day!
Are you a boating related business and want to
increase sales and profits with targeted traffic?
Act now to get our 1/2 price sale, limited offer

Reply - Answer
Well Steve, congratulations on your houseboat purchase, and the Nautaline's is a popular houseboat model with good interior and exterior space, and they still have traditional classic style.

As to the "proper method" to block a houseboat, I'm sure we will get many opinions on this. From my experience, I have always seen or tried to block my boat in a way that the weight is evenly spread throughout the keel and chine.

Some of the important aspects to properly blocking a houseboat are to take into account some of the environmental issues like wind, and the ground stability. Nothing worse than going to see your houseboat and the wind or the soft ground has allowed it to topple over :(

It is my understanding that the keel or the chine should be able to handle all the weight of the houseboat, but from a "stability" point of view, boats are generally "blocked" all the way around.

If you're getting an opinion to block more of the weight on the chine, could be because the keel is soft, and they don't want to take the risk of damage? Has the houseboat, and the hull been professionally surveyed by a qualified marine surveyor?

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat blocking and lifting experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found at the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

Free Bonus Offer

To show our deep appreciation to all of our readers and visitors, here is the link to our free houseboat magazine, the INSIDER. Go ahead click the book and sign-up, it's free and filled with great articles, tips, information and website updates.

free Houseboat Magazine - The Houseboat Insider

Comments for How to Lift and Block Houseboats for Storage?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

How to set up a cradle for a houseboat
by: Anonymous

I just bought a used rail and track system for my 34 foot houseboat. The cradle needs to be adjusted to fit my hull design.

Is there any one that could tell me where I can find the dimensions of my hull and how to adjust a cradle to fit it properly?

My boat is a 1969, 12 X 34 foot Nautaline houseboat. Thanks for any help with this.

Standard Blocking for Houseboats
by: Russell

I worked in several marinas. The standard procedure was a set of supports every 10 feet under the keel and on each side at the chine. The boat was lowered to touch all blocks under the keel evenly. Then the side supports were installed and tightened via the screw jacks.

After all the jacks and blocks were in position the boats full weight was slowly lowered onto the blocks. This gave support and stability to the entire boat no matter what the weather or how many people were working aboard at any time.

When setting the keel blocks special attention should be paid to the waterline. It should be kept as close to level as possible. This allows the bilge pumps to work normally and keeps the decks in normal possition.

Some boats are deeper in one end or the other so blocking the keel level will give the boat an up or down attitude when working aboard. Trying to replace a counter top and keep it looking level is very tough if the boat is running downhill to the bow or stern. The same goes for side to side leveling.

I have hauled and blocked hundreds of boats and none ever fell over nor were any ever damaged by blocking or lifting. Be sure the slings are over bulkheads and there are enough slings for the weight of the boat.

Many of the boats I hauled were older wooden boats and required special blocking and weight distribution through spreader boards and extra slings. Todays boats are stronger due to the strength of the newer materials used in their construction. Still, I'm of the old world of wooden boats and tend to be overly cautious when handling such weight.

Our boat is documented at 39 tons. Very thick fiberglass is very heavy. Don't underestimate the weight and what it can do to a set of slings.

How high you block the boat depends on how much work you need to do under the keel. Normally you can set blocks and remove blocks as needed. Now days some marinas will not let you remove or move blocks.

Cleaning and painting the areas under the blocks is usually done after the boat is lifted to be launched. Some marinas will leave your boat hang until you finish the touchups and allow drying time before they splash you back in the water.

Still others will reblock your boat once you finish the bottom so you can get the spots missed during the first blocking. Check with the marina as to what method they use before you get set up. Painting and scraping 12 or 15 blocking spots while the travel lift is running down the yard to put your boat back in the water is a bear of a job.

I hope this helps and gives you a little insight into the blocking procedures.

Reply - Answer
Russell, thanks for taking the time to contribute this fine article on blocking houseboats.

IAN from

Houseboat Scow Design
by: WALT

Any insights for using a piling mounted boat lift to lift 36 foot Gibson houseboat out of water and store it on the boat lift.

For example, what size (dimensions) bunks should be used to lift/support houseboat on boat lift? Where should boat lift bunks be located on bottom of houseboat?

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Houseboat Forums.

Continue Reading Our Popular Pages

Our collection of houseboat ebooks

Ebook Boats Collection on Houseboat Books

We just love houseboats, do you?
Join our monthly HB Insider for free